Online bookseller Amazon.com recently released a statement from CEO Jeff Bezos which said, “… customers now purchase more Kindle[ebook reader]books than hardcover books.”
In a subsequent interview with USA Today Bezos added, “I predict we will surpass paperback sales sometime in the next nine to 12 months.”
It’s enough to make anyone with an interest in books give some serious thought to what ebooks may mean for them.
Our next two blogs will look at ebooks from two perspectives. Today we’ll look at the implications for authors creating a memoir or family history who intend limited distribution for family and friends. In our next post we’ll look at ebooks from the perspective of authors seeking commercial distribution.
If Your Goal is Preserving Your Personal or Family History - Print Books Are Best
What about ebooks? How about that digital camcorder footage from the last family reunion? Perhaps this is enough to tell your stories, and you can be spared the trouble of writing a book.
Whatever happened to those cassettes or VHS movies? Unfortunately, none of these technologies are reliable over time. Whatever happened to those cassettes or VHS movies? The Library of Congress, as well as other digital media experts, still advises us to document history on paper. Books can last for hundreds of years. Ironically, the lasting value of books is because they are “low tech” and don’t require a machine to operate.
That doesn’t mean that a multimedia presentation isn’t engaging and valuable. Consider supplementing your book with a CD enclosure that holds all the photos you’ve published, and more that didn’t make it into the book. You might include audio or video recordings of family members. It is easy to create a companion ebook to accompany your book. Ask your editor or book designer how you can coordinate the two projects as you prepare your book.
But if preservation is your primary goal take the advice of Dag Spicer, curator of the Computer History Museum in Silicon Valley, “…consider paper as an archival medium.”